- Lawrence Burns
- United Kingdom
Oxford, Cambridge and Ivy League Universities are often revered above others. What do people make of this?
Oxford and other Ivy League universities have the reputation of being fine institutions that educate their students rigorously. They are viewed by many as being at the top of the pecking order and their degrees are viewed as a bench-mark for students. Competition for places is high so the Universities get their pick of the students as their degrees are so sought after. They are often seen as a key into the high end of professions such as law and banking. The academics are highly respected and viewed as an authority in their area of study.
I sat my undergraduate degree at Oxford University - the workload was considerably higher than on the corresponding courses at other Universities so it was a challenge in that sense. Beyond this and the ancient buildings though, I didn't find it particularly special. There is this aura about the place that it must be full of brilliant people and often people are amazed in my home town of Sheffield when I mention that I have studied there. There is still a huge class association with Oxford. I also find it worrying that people would look up to graduates and professors of these institutions like they are authorities. Naturally a lot of graduates and professors could be happy to agree with this! It's tempting to go along with the view that these institutions are simply the bees-knees, particularly after working so hard in them but I wonder if everybody thinks this. It sometimes saddens me when I hear people express regret that they didn't 'get in' to sit a course at Oxford as if this means that they must be less intelligent than somebody who did 'get in'. Some people never seem to let this go. My experience was that the students and professors are really just another mixed-bag - most are nothing special, some are pretty talented and a lot of them in my view can become quite arrogant and narrow-minded.
I wonder what people's perceptions of these universities are? Should they be so revered?